No. 8 California Gets 3-1 Win Over Aggies to Advance to Round of 16

Dec. 6, 2008

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BERKELEY - The No. 8-ranked California volleyball team (25-6, 13-5 Pac-10) defeated New Mexico State (26-9, 15-1 WAC), 3-1 (25-23, 25-13, 21-25, 25-17) in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Volleyball Championship tonight at Haas Pavilion. The Bears advance to the round of 16 as one of four teams in the University Park Regional and will face No. 14 Illinois (26-7, 15-5 Big Ten) in one regional semifinal at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Dec. 12, at the Penn State Rec Hall in State College, Pa. No. 1 Penn State (34-0, 20-0 Big Ten) will face Western Michigan (28-6, 14-2 MAC) in the other regional semifinal at 6 p.m. ET later that night. The winners of each match will advance to the regional final, taking place on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. ET. The regional final will be broadcast live on ESPNU. For more information on the regional championships at University Park, please visit www.gopsusports.com.

This is the third straight season (fourth overall) in which the Bears have advanced to the regional semifinal. Last year, Cal defeated Iowa State and defending NCAA champion Nebraska in the Wisconsin Regional to advance to the NCAA semifinal in Sacramento, Calif. Sophomore setter Carli Lloyd, former All-American outside hitter Angie Pressey and junior outside hitter Hana Cutura (named the MVP) were each selected to the regional all-tournament team. The Bears fell to eventual champion Penn State, 3-0 in the national semifinal.

Cutura led all players with 16 kills tonight (5e, 35att, .314) and added six digs. Senior outside hitter Am'ra Solomon and junior middle hitter Mindi Wiley each had 13 kills apiece. Solomon committed just two attack errors on her 26 attempts to log a .423 attack rate. Wiley had one error and hit .600 on her 20 attempts. Lloyd set up all of her attackers as she put up 45 assists to go with her five digs and three blocks. Freshman outside hitter Tarah Murrey had eight kills (5e, 20att, .150) and five digs to go with four blocks. New Mexico State junior outside hitter Krista Altermatt posted 12 kills (6e, 27att, .222) to lead her team and senior outside hitter Lindsey Yon had a double-double with 11 kills (9e, 36att, .056) and 11 digs.

The Bears attacked at a .310 rate and had 51 kills on 113 attacks (16e) while holding the Aggies to a .107 attack percentage on 122 attempts (48k, 35e). Cal out-blocked New Mexico State 17.5-5.0 in the match and overcame 11 service errors to walk away with the victory.

After facing the fifth tied score of the fourth set, Cutura claimed a kill to put the Bears up 11-10. Cal never trailed again even though the Aggies fought to come within a point. A service error by Murrey put New Mexico State down just one point at 16-15 but Solomon and Wiley came through with back-to-back kills to put the Bears out in front 18-15. Cal ripped off an 8-1 run to nab set point when Cutura got a kill at 24-16. The Aggies managed just one more point before a quick set from Lloyd was met by the hand of Wiley, who sent the ball straight to the floor to seal the deal for the Bears. Cal had 11 kills in the fourth (5e, 24att, .250) and the Aggies had 10 kills (8e, 25att, .080).

The Aggies seized a 2-1 lead in the third set and kept up a sturdy attack to stay ahead the entire way. New Mexico State put up 14 kills on 33 attacks (5e, .273) to stop the Bears in their tracks. Although Cal had 16 kills (5e, 38att, .289) in the set, it could not get out of its own way as players posted four service errors and two receiving errors. The Aggies also dug up 14 Cal attacks to maintain steam and came away with a 25-21 win.

Cal wasted no time getting going in the second set, pulling out to a 12-2 advantage on back-to-back solo blocks by Murrey. The Bears never trailed and went up by eleven points at 24-13 when an Aggie player committed a blocking error by touching the net. Cutura blasted a shot off the New Mexico State block on the next play to seal the 25-13 win for the Bears. Cal had just nine kills in the second set (3e, 21att, .286) but put up 7.5 blocks to hold the Aggies to a negative .258 attack percentage (7k, 15e, 31att).

After a cross-court kill by Murrey put Cal up 2-1, Cal held the lead until one of Solomon's attacks went long to knot things up at 23-all. The tie didn't hold up very long however, as Cutura gave the advantage back to Cal when she put a kill off the fingertips of an Aggie blocker. New Mexico State committed an attack error on the next play to give Cal the 25-23 first-set win. Both teams attacked efficiently in the opening set. Cal put up 15 kills on 30 attacks and had just three errors to attack at a .400 rate. The Aggies had 17 kills on 33 attacks and committed seven errors (.303).

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